Joker is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film, based on DC Comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker and provides a possible origin story for the character.
On October 4th, 2019, Warner Bros Pictures released Joker in theaters nationwide. As of writing this review (October 7th), the film has been met with positive reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Set in 1981, it follows Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian whose descent into insanity and nihilism inspires a violent counter-cultural revolution against the wealthy in a decaying Gotham City.
As he struggles to get his life together, he starts working at a children’s hospital and becomes friends with Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz), who lives across the hall from him. While working at the hospital, he meets Randall (Glenn Fleshler), his co-worker and fellow sign-spinner. Together they plan to rob a local department store after Randall gives Arthur some inspiration.
A gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society. Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) works as a clown and is an aspiring stand-up comic. He has mental health issues, part of which involves uncontrollable laughter. Times are tough and, due to his issues and occupation, Arthur has an even worse time than most.
Over the course of one bad day, he snaps and turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) works as a clown-for-hire in Gotham City, making his living through advertising campaigns and children’s parties. He cares for his aging mother Penny (Frances Conroy), who suffers from delusions of a relationship with Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen).
One day, Arthur is beaten up by three drunken Wayne Enterprises businessmen, who are laughing at a joke he has written for Murray Franklin’s (Robert De Niro) show on the Gotham Broadcasting Company. While recovering at home, Arthur is visited by his former co-worker Randall (Glenn Fleshler), who gives him a gun for protection.
Arthur attends a therapist session, where he discusses his mother’s delusions and his desire to make people laugh. At work, Randall goads him into performing in front of a group of children; an irate father complains to Arthur’s boss, Gary (Leigh Gill), who fires Arthur.
On the subway ride home, still in his clown makeup, Arthur is beaten by three teenagers and has the gun taken from him. A young woman named Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz) sees the attack and takes him to her apartment to recover. She bandages his wounds and reassures him that he is good person but does not act like one.
The movie is dark and violent, but it’s also full of meaning and symbolism. There are theories out there that the entire story is just a figment of Fleck’s imagination. Others are convinced that the Joker was abused by his mother as a child.
The movie is definitely open to interpretation, but one thing is clear: this isn’t your average comic book movie.
This movie is an emotional roller coaster. From the beginning you are invested in this characters life. You see the trials and tribulations he goes through on a daily basis and how he is just trying to get by.
The movie shows his struggles with mental illness, his failed attempts to make it as a comedian, and the bullying he endures from those around him.
The story moves at a good pace and keeps you engaged throughout. Although a long movie it never feels that way because of the pacing.
If you love character studies this is definitely one for you!
What mental illness does Joker have?
Joker’s illness is never given a specific name (it’s not schizophrenia or anything like that), but it’s clear that he experiences delusions and hallucinations, which cause him to believe that he hears his dead mother speaking to him from inside his fridge, begging him to kill Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro).
Later in the film when Arthur is in Arkham Asylum he’s still hearing things; this time it’s his former co-worker Randall (Glenn Fleshler) telling him the truth about what happened with Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz).
Is Joker based on a true story?
No it isn’t. It may share some elements with real life stories but this isn’t a true story. The movie is not entirely based on one comic book, but it does take some inspiration from the original source material.
Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham, and Marc Maron appear in supporting roles. Joker was produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, and Joint Effort, in association with Bron Creative and Village Roadshow Pictures; distributed by Warner Bros.
The film polarized critics: Phoenix’s performance was praised while the dark tone and portrayal of mental illness received criticism. However, Joker became a box office success; over its opening weekend—which coincided with October 4–6—it grossed $96 million from 4,374 theaters to top the North American box office, breaking multiple records as well as becoming the highest-grossing October release of all time at the time of release. It has since been surpassed by Venom.
JOKER centers on the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
Joker is the first live-action theatrical Batman film to receive an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, due to its violent and disturbing content.
Awards and Achievements
Following its world premiere at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019, it was theatrically released in the United States on October 4. It received praise for Phoenix’s performance and Phillips’ direction but polarized critics over its interpretation of the character and its dark tone.
The film became a major financial success as well as one of the highest-grossing R-rated films of all time (behind Deadpool 2), with critics.
Director Todd Phillips (the ‘Hangover’ trilogy) has dialed down his usual comedic tone for this grittier origin story about an average man who becomes a psychopathic criminal. He has created a new genre of comic book movie which is set in the DC universe but plays out like an independent drama.
The film chronicles Arthur’s transformation from a meek, socially inept loser to deluded super villain after society rejects him one too many times. His personal trial by fire begins when he meets Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz), a single mother who befriends him and gives him affection.
Background of the Storyline
Joker is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film, based on DC Comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker and provides an alternative origin story for the character.
Set in 1981, it follows Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian whose descent into insanity and nihilism inspires a violent countercultural revolution against the wealthy in a decaying Gotham City.
The first trailer for Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s most iconic villain, is a captivating one. The movie is a dark origin story for the clown prince of crime and focuses on his descent into madness.
The trailer shows a man at odds with society and living in poverty who turns to a life of crime and unspeakable acts of violence. It will be interesting to see how this film will compare to other portrayals of the character in recent years.
Of course, there were several other actors who played the Joker before Phoenix, including Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. Their performances were very different than what we’ve seen so far of Phoenix’s portrayal, but they were both praised by critics and audiences alike when their movies came out.
And while fans are eager to see how this film differs from its predecessors, they may not have long before another Joker movie hits theaters: Martin Scorsese has been working on adapting Brian Azzarello’s graphic novel “Joker” for quite some time now.
The Joker is a 1980s comic book villain created by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. He first appeared in Batman as Psychopathic, violent, cold-blooded and sadistic, the Joker is one of Batman’s most dangerous enemies. The character was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson.
One of the best movies of 2019, Joker is a movie that’s going to be remembered for a long time. It was an amazing experience from start to finish. The acting, visuals, and story were top notch and it’s a film that will be talked about for years to come.
The movie starts off slow but picks up pretty quickly once the Joker character is introduced. There are some really great scenes that show how far he’ll go to get what he wants. The Joker is one of the favorite comic book villains and this portrayal of him was spot on.